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Led by Anil Gehi, MD, a team of UNC Health providers used cardiac contractility modulation, an innovative minimally-invasive therapy, to help people with heart failure feel better.

UNC Medical Center is among the first hospitals in the United States and the first hospital in the Carolinas to use CCM® therapy, delivered by the Optimizer® system, to treat patients suffering from heart failure. Heart failure is a progressive condition with debilitating symptoms that can severely limit the quality of life for heart failure patients.

CCM therapy, also known as cardiac contractility modulation is a new, FDA-approved heart failure treatment proven to improve quality of life for patients that are no longer adequately responding to medications to manage symptoms or slow the progression of heart failure.1

Delivering Precisely Timed Electrical Pulses to the Heart

The innovative therapy is the first of its kind intended to improve the contraction of the heart, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to reach the body.1 CCM therapy delivers precisely timed electrical pulses to the heart that are intended to improve the heart’s ability to contract and can be used in conjunction with medications and other heart failure therapies.

The first patient treated in the Carolinas with CCM therapy was treated by Dr. Faisal Syed in October of 2020.

“CCM therapy is a therapeutic option for heart failure patients that is intended to help patients feel better, to improve their quality of life, and keep them out of the hospital,” said Anil Gehi, MD, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at UNC. “The Optimizer device has recently been FDA approved for use in certain heart failure patients. The device is implanted in a similar way to conventional cardiac pacemakers. For those patients who are not candidates for cardiac resynchronization therapy or who are not to the point of needing a left ventricular assist device, CCM is another device based approach with benefits beyond medical therapy. We are excited to be able to offer this novel therapy to patients at UNC Medical Center.”

Heart failure, a condition in which the heart weakens and is not able to adequately supply oxygen-rich blood, affects an estimated 6.5 million Americans and nearly 26 million people worldwide. By 2030, it is expected to affect 8 million Americans.

Heart failure patients experience debilitating symptoms, including breathlessness, fatigue, confusion and swelling in the legs that make everyday activities challenging and significantly diminish their quality of life. Today, most heart failure patients are prescribed medications which have been shown to significantly reduce death from heart failure and improve symptoms. However, some patients remain significantly symptomatic from heart failure despite optimal medical therapy, and a number of them may qualify for CCM therapy.

CCM therapy was developed by Impulse Dynamics, based in Mount Laurel, NJ.

Contact: Phil Bridges, Executive Director of Integrated Communications for UNC Health